Rules & Content Restrictions for Publishing an App in China

Rules & Content Restrictions for Publishing an App in China

Every app submitted to a Chinese app store must go through an approval process before it can be accepted for publication and receive a game license and approval number (ISBN), and various Chinese governing bodies and agencies have outlined a number of regulations and content restrictions for those apps.

By law, Chinese app stores are held liable for any inappropriate or illegal content and activity that takes place in the apps they are hosting. So they will be extra-vigilant in ensuring that your apps meet these requirements, and it will be up to their individual interpretations whether or not they will accept your app as-is, or request modifications.

No two app stores may interpret the law the same, so do not be surprised if your app is accepted by one but rejected by another. The key to handling the app approval process is patience. If you have an experienced, trusted partner like AppInChina helping you through, your experience will be smoother and painless.

Keep in mind that Chinese law is sometimes vague and open to interpretation. It can also change quickly, and prior content is usually required to adapt quickly to the new regulations, without being “grandfathered” in.

Link: Content Restrictions for Games in China

Apps That Cannot Be Published

Here is a list of types of apps and games that are currently forbidden to be published in Mainland China:

Game Walkthroughs. A guide aimed towards improving a player’s skill within a particular game and often designed to assist players in completing either an entire game or specific elements.

Apps for Earning Virtual Currency, such as coins.

Apps for Getting Around the Great Firewall of China. Apps that provide a means to access the internet by bypassing a list of IP ranges that are automatically dropped; filtering; domain name hijacking; limiting web traffic; etc.

VPN Software and Services.

WiFi Cracking. Apps that crack corporate wifi or any individual developers’ wifi apps.

Rooting Software. Apps for uninstalling utilities that come with the operating system without root system permissions.

Gambling Apps. Apps for winning points to exchange for prizes and earn money.

Lotto Apps. Apps for selling lottery tickets and/or offering lottery information.

New Mahjong or Poker Games. These are seen as encouraging gambling, and the government feels there are already too many on the market.

Mobile Game Transaction Apps. Apps that recharge mobile game gifts and accounts, provide game leveling up, etc.

Game App Store. Game app stores must be specifically licensed by the Chinese government through a special process, and only a Chinese company may operate one.

Gaming Community Apps.

Vulgar or Illegal Apps. This includes apps that include pornography, obscenity, gambling, drugs, violence, and politically sensitive contents.

Religious Apps.

If your app or game falls under any of these categories, your app will not be approved to be published on any app stores in Mainland China.

If you have any questions about whether your app or game qualifies to be published in China, please contact us and we can advise.